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Staying connected during the COVID19 pandemic

Posted by , on 21 May 2020

Among many other (many more important) things, pandemic times have meant an end to travel, which for the Development team means no conferences and no lab visits. For me personally, it’s meant cancelled trips to Shanghai, Kyoto, Washington and Chicago, and while I’m delighted to be keeping my carbon footprint down, I’m definitely missing the opportunity to get out and meet the developmental biology community – and hear about your latest work.

I do think, and hope, that this travel hiatus will lead to long-term changes in the way we do conferences – and a more sustainable and eco-friendly conference culture (as discussed in this recent preprint, preLight and Node post). But I also believe that nothing beats face-to-face meetings, and I’m looking forward to getting back on the road once it’s safe and practical to do so. In the meantime, we at Development have been thinking about ways to connect with and support the community while we’re all stuck at home. As James Briscoe wrote in his recent update, we’re always happy to hear from you. So if you’ve got a paper you might be interested in submitting to Development, would like to discuss an idea for a possible review, or just want to talk about the journal or publishing more generally, please get in touch. You can drop us an email and, if it’d be helpful, we can try and set up a phone or video call.

We’ve also been spending some time giving (hopefully!) useful tips to the community here on the Node: if you’ve not read them already, check out Seema’s recent post on writing reviews, and Alex’s piece on how to get involved in peer review. If there’s something you’d like us to write about, do let us know and we’ll see what we can do. But we’d like to be more interactive – we’d normally be out and about giving talks at institutes or panel discussions at conferences, so are thinking about ways of replicating some of this online.

I’m sure many of you already have far too many Zoom calls and webinars to attend, but would you be interested in joining us for webinars on various aspects of publishing? We’ve set up a brief survey for you to indicate your interest and to let us know what you’d be most keen to hear about. Please do fill it in if you’d like to get involved and we’ll try and set something up. We’re also considering the possibility of hosting a series of scientific webinars, perhaps featuring authors of Development papers – again, please let us know in the survey if you would be interested in a devbio webinar series. Finally, we’re beginning to think about whether we could replace in-person lab visits and institute seminars with virtual equivalents – we’ve got limited capacity to do this, but if you’re interested in having one of the Development team ‘visit’ your institute, let me know!

One of the joys of working in this field is the wonderful community of developmental biologists. So while we can’t meet in person, I hope we can continue to connect in other ways – and if you’ve got thoughts about other things we should be doing to help with this, I’m all ears…!

Stay well and stay safe, and see you on the other side…




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2 thoughts on “Staying connected during the COVID19 pandemic”

  1. I am in industry and supplying the developmental biology community. I celebrate conferences, my only face-to-face contacts with the people who use our products – there is always so much to learn! Losing the journey to Taiwan for SCSI was the toughest cancellation this year. I do miss the conversations and look forward to future gatherings; our travel will likely decrease, but there will still be opportunities. With eyes to a distant happy horizon, I hear R&D work is continuing on electric fuel-cell airliners …

  2. Indeed – and it’s those corridor (or exhibition hall) conversations at conferences that are particularly hard to replace virtually. Hopefully we’ll figure out better ways of doing this in the online space, and hopefully we’ll be able to do it again in person one day!

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